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Recipes Around The World: Pancit Bihon


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Edie Moorehead



Food is not just about nourishment, it is also a gateway to exploring and experiencing different cultures. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the essence of a country is through its traditional dishes. And when it comes to combining the flavors of travel and cuisine, there is nothing quite like Food Travel.


Food Travel refers to the act of exploring new destinations and experiencing different cuisines. It is a unique and exciting way to discover the world, connecting with locals through the universal language of food. And when it comes to Food Travel, one dish that stands out is Pancit Bihon.


Pancit Bihon is a traditional Filipino dish that showcases the rich flavors and cultural diversity of the Philippines. It is a noodle dish that is popularly consumed during special occasions, family gatherings, and even as an everyday meal. With its delicious combination of ingredients, Pancit Bihon offers a tantalizing taste of the Philippines.


This article will take you on a culinary journey through the history, ingredients, preparation, cooking methods, variations, and serving suggestions of Pancit Bihon. Get ready to indulge your taste buds and dive into the vibrant world of Food Travel with this iconic Filipino dish.


History of Pancit Bihon

Pancit Bihon has a long and fascinating history that traces back to Chinese influence on Filipino cuisine. The word “pancit” itself is derived from the Hokkien term “pian i sit,” which means “convenient food.” The Chinese immigrants who settled in the Philippines brought their culinary traditions, including their expertise in noodle-making.


It is believed that Pancit Bihon originated from the Hokkien-style noodles brought by Chinese settlers during the 16th century. The dish quickly gained popularity among Filipinos due to its flavorful taste and versatility. Over time, it underwent several adaptations to suit local preferences and the available ingredients.


Pancit Bihon became an essential part of Filipino cuisine as it symbolized long life and good fortune. It is often served during birthdays, fiestas, and other special occasions, as it is believed to bring luck and prosperity to the celebrant.


Throughout history, Pancit Bihon has evolved to reflect the various influences and regional differences in the Philippines. In the Northern regions, it is commonly prepared with soy sauce, while in the Southern regions, calamansi juice is added for a tangy flavor. Each variation showcases the unique culinary traditions and flavors of the different provinces in the country.


Today, Pancit Bihon remains a beloved dish in the Philippines and can be found in numerous restaurants, street food stalls, and home kitchens. Its enduring popularity speaks volumes about its cultural significance and the deep-rooted connection between food and Filipino identity.



Pancit Bihon is a versatile dish that can be customized based on personal taste and regional variations. While the specific ingredients may vary, the core components remain the same. Here are the common ingredients used in traditional Pancit Bihon:

  1. Rice Noodles (Bihon): The star of the dish, rice noodles provide a delicate and chewy texture. They are soaked in water and then stir-fried with the other ingredients.
  2. Protein: Common choices for protein include chicken, pork, shrimp, or a combination of these. The meat is usually thinly sliced or diced.
  3. Vegetables: Typical vegetables include cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, and green beans. These add color, crunch, and nutrients to the dish.
  4. Aromatics: Garlic, onions, and sometimes ginger are sautéed at the beginning to infuse the dish with flavor.
  5. Soy Sauce: This savory condiment adds depth and richness to the dish. It also provides a slight salty taste and a dark color to the noodles.
  6. Chicken Broth: Broth or stock is used to cook the noodles and add moisture to the dish. It enhances the overall flavor profile.
  7. Calamansi or Lemon: The tangy juice of calamansi (a local citrus fruit) or lemon is often squeezed over the Pancit Bihon before serving to add a citrusy brightness.
  8. Seasonings and Spices: Other common seasonings include black pepper, fish sauce, and oyster sauce, which contribute to the overall umami flavor.
  9. Garnishes: Chopped green onions, crispy fried garlic, and sometimes hard-boiled eggs are used as garnishes to enhance the visual appeal and taste of the Pancit Bihon.

It is important to note that these ingredients can be adjusted to personal preference and availability. The beauty of Pancit Bihon lies in its adaptability, allowing for a wide range of flavor combinations and ingredient variations to suit different tastes.



Preparing Pancit Bihon requires some basic cooking techniques, but it is a relatively straightforward dish to make. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prepare Pancit Bihon:

  1. Soak the Rice Noodles: Start by soaking the rice noodles in room temperature water for about 15-20 minutes or until they become soft and pliable. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
  2. Sauté the Aromatics: Heat some oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add minced garlic and onions and sauté them until fragrant and golden brown.
  3. Add the Protein: Add the thinly sliced or diced meat (chicken, pork, shrimp, or a combination) and cook until just cooked through. If using shrimp, make sure they turn pink and opaque.
  4. Add the Vegetables: Add the vegetables, starting with the ones that take longer to cook, such as carrots and green beans. Stir-fry for a few minutes until they start to soften.
  5. Cook the Noodles: Push the vegetables and meat to one side of the pan and add the soaked rice noodles to the other side. Pour chicken broth and soy sauce over the noodles. Gently toss everything together and let the noodles cook in the broth until they absorb the liquid and become tender.
  6. Season and Finish: Season the Pancit Bihon with fish sauce, black pepper, and other desired seasonings. Give it a final toss to ensure that the flavors are evenly distributed. Squeeze some calamansi or lemon juice over the noodles and give it one last mix.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Transfer the Pancit Bihon to a serving platter and garnish it with chopped green onions and crispy fried garlic. You can also add sliced hard-boiled eggs as a garnish, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Pancit Bihon is not only a delicious dish but also a visually appealing one. The combination of vibrant vegetables, tender noodles, and flavorful protein creates a mouthwatering feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.


Remember, the beauty of Pancit Bihon lies in its versatility, so feel free to experiment with the ingredients and adapt the recipe to your own preference. Whether you enjoy it with a squeeze of calamansi juice or an extra sprinkle of black pepper, Pancit Bihon is sure to satisfy your cravings for a flavorful and comforting meal.


Cooking Methods

Pancit Bihon can be cooked using different methods, depending on personal preference and the available equipment. Here are three common cooking methods for preparing this delectable Filipino dish:

  1. Stir-Frying: This is the most common and traditional cooking method for Pancit Bihon. In this method, the ingredients are sautéed in a hot pan or wok, starting with the aromatics, followed by the protein and vegetables, and finally the soaked rice noodles. This method allows for quick and even cooking, resulting in flavorful and well-cooked noodles.
  2. Boiling: For a simpler and quicker approach, some cooks prefer to boil the rice noodles separately until tender, while preparing the other ingredients separately. Once everything is cooked, they are combined and tossed together with the seasonings and garnishes. This method works well for those who want a no-fuss preparation.
  3. Braising: Braising is a slower cooking method that involves simmering the Pancit Bihon in a liquid, such as chicken broth or a combination of broth and water. This method allows the noodles to absorb the flavorful liquid, resulting in a rich and savory dish. The ingredients are typically layered in a pot, starting with the protein, vegetables, and then the noodles on top.

Each cooking method delivers a slightly different taste and texture to the Pancit Bihon. Stir-frying offers a good balance of flavors and a slightly chewy texture, while boiling produces a softer and more tender noodle. Braising, on the other hand, provides a more succulent and deeply-infused flavor profile.


Whichever cooking method you choose, be sure to keep an eye on the noodles and the doneness of the ingredients. Overcooking can result in mushy noodles and vegetables, while undercooking can leave them too firm. The key is to achieve a harmonious blend of flavors and textures for a truly satisfying Pancit Bihon experience.


Variations and Regional Adaptations

Pancit Bihon, like many traditional dishes, has evolved and adapted to suit different regional tastes and available ingredients. Throughout the Philippines, you will find various versions and regional adaptations of this beloved noodle dish. Here are some notable variations:

  1. Pancit Canton: This variation uses egg noodles instead of rice noodles. It is often stir-fried with a mix of meat and vegetables and has a slightly chewier texture.
  2. Pancit Malabon: Originating from the city of Malabon in Metro Manila, this version features thick rice noodles topped with a savory sauce made from shrimp, squid, and annatto seed. It is garnished with various seafood and is known for its vibrant orange color.
  3. Pancit Palabok: Another popular Filipino noodle dish, Pancit Palabok is made with rice noodles topped with a thick sauce made from shrimp, ground pork, and annatto. It is garnished with crushed chicharon (pork cracklings), hard-boiled eggs, and spring onions.
  4. Pancit Lucban: Hailing from the province of Quezon, this regional variation of Pancit Bihon is known for its use of dried shrimp and achuete (annatto) oil. It is also garnished with chicharon and sliced longganisa (local sausage).
  5. Pancit Batil Patung: Popular in the Northern region of the Philippines, particularly in Tuguegarao, Pancit Batil Patung is made with miki noodles and topped with stir-fried ground meat, vegetables, and an egg. It is served with a flavorful broth and often garnished with crispy pork cracklings.

These variations showcase the creativity and diversity within Filipino cuisine. Each region adds their own distinct twist to the dish, resulting in unique flavors and combinations that highlight local ingredients and culinary traditions.


When exploring different regions of the Philippines, make sure to try the local adaptation of Pancit Bihon. It is a fantastic way to discover the rich tapestry of flavors and cultural nuances that make Filipino cuisine so fascinating.


Serving Suggestions

Pancit Bihon is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with other complementary dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your Pancit Bihon experience:

  • Condiments: Provide a variety of condiments on the side for diners to customize the flavors of their Pancit Bihon. Some popular options include calamansi or lemon wedges, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce, and vinegar with garlic and chili.
  • Side Dishes: Serve Pancit Bihon alongside other Filipino favorites like lumpia (spring rolls), tokwa’t baboy (fried tofu and pork), or chicken inasal (grilled chicken). These dishes complement each other and create a well-rounded Filipino meal.
  • Salad: Add a refreshing element to your meal by serving a simple green salad on the side. A mix of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and a tangy vinaigrette can provide a contrast to the rich flavors of the Pancit Bihon.
  • Pickled Vegetables: The addition of pickled vegetables, such as atchara (pickled papaya) or sinamak (spiced vinegar), adds a tangy and crunchy element to the dish. It helps cleanse the palate and balances the flavors of the Pancit Bihon.
  • Garnishes: Sprinkle your Pancit Bihon with additional garnishes like chopped green onions, crispy fried garlic, and roasted peanuts for added texture and flavor.

When serving Pancit Bihon, consider the occasion and the preferences of your guests. It can be served as a main dish for a casual family meal or as part of a larger spread for a festive gathering. Regardless of how you serve it, Pancit Bihon is a delightful dish that is meant to be shared and enjoyed with loved ones.


Remember to encourage your guests to explore different flavors and combinations, as that is part of the joy of Food Travel. The beauty of Pancit Bihon lies in its versatility, allowing everyone to create a personalized experience that suits their own taste buds.


Popular Pancit Bihon Recipes

While there are countless variations of Pancit Bihon, here is a selection of popular and delicious recipes that you can try at home:

  1. Classic Pancit Bihon: This recipe features the traditional preparation of Pancit Bihon with a combination of chicken, pork, shrimp, and various vegetables. It incorporates the signature flavors of soy sauce, chicken broth, and calamansi juice for that authentic Filipino taste.
  2. Seafood Pancit Bihon: This recipe takes Pancit Bihon to the next level by incorporating an array of fresh seafood such as shrimp, squid, and mussels. The seafood is quickly stir-fried with garlic and onions before adding the noodles and vegetables, resulting in a seafood lover’s delight.
  3. Vegan/Vegetarian Pancit Bihon: This recipe is perfect for those following a plant-based lifestyle. It replaces the meat and seafood with tofu or tempeh, and adds an assortment of colorful vegetables like bell peppers, cabbage, and mushrooms. The flavors are enhanced with vegetable broth and soy sauce, creating a satisfying vegan version of Pancit Bihon.
  4. Spicy Pancit Bihon: For those who enjoy a little heat, this recipe adds a kick to the dish with the addition of chopped chili peppers, chili oil, or a dash of hot sauce. The spiciness elevates the flavors and adds a delightful zing to every bite.
  5. Upscale Pancit Bihon: Elevate the classic Pancit Bihon by adding premium ingredients like thinly sliced beef, scallops, and even truffle oil. This recipe takes a luxurious twist on the traditional dish, creating a sophisticated and indulgent version.

These recipes serve as a starting point, and you can always experiment with the ingredients and seasonings to cater to your personal preferences. Don’t be afraid to get creative and put your own spin on the classic Pancit Bihon!


Remember, the key to a successful Pancit Bihon recipe is to balance the flavors and textures. The noodles should be tender but not mushy, and the overall taste should be savory, slightly tangy, and rich in umami flavor.


Whether you choose to stick with the traditional recipe or venture into new flavor combinations, Pancit Bihon is a dish that is sure to delight your taste buds and transport you to the vibrant culinary world of the Philippines.



Pancit Bihon is more than just a noodle dish; it is a gateway to exploring the diverse flavors and cultural heritage of the Philippines. Through its rich history and regional adaptations, Pancit Bihon symbolizes the fusion of Chinese and Filipino culinary traditions.


From its humble beginnings as a convenient food brought by Chinese immigrants, Pancit Bihon has become a beloved dish that is cherished by Filipinos and enjoyed by food enthusiasts around the world. Its versatility allows for endless variations and the opportunity to customize the ingredients based on personal preference.


Whether you choose to enjoy a classic recipe with a mix of meat, vegetables, and a tangy sauce, or explore regional adaptations like Pancit Malabon or Pancit Batil Patung, Pancit Bihon offers a tantalizing glimpse into the diverse flavors and cultural nuances of the Philippines.


So, the next time you embark on a Food Travel adventure, make sure to indulge in the delightful experience of savoring Pancit Bihon. Immerse yourself in the aromatic flavors, relish the blend of textures, and appreciate the rich history behind this iconic Filipino dish.


Pancit Bihon is not just a meal; it is a testament to the power of food in connecting people, celebrating traditions, and creating unforgettable memories. So grab a plate, gather your loved ones, and let Pancit Bihon transport you on a culinary journey to the vibrant and flavorful world of Food Travel.